OS: Ubuntu Mate 20.10; Kernel: Linux 5.8.0-36-generic; Architecture: x86-64


Browser 1: Google Chrome: Version 87.0.4280.141 (Official Build) (64-bit)


Browser 2: Firefox: Version 84.0.2 (64-bit)
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Problem: for the past week and a half, I’ve been unable to play various podcasts within either my Google Chrome browser, or my Firefox browser (see OS, kernel and application versions above). To be clear, the podcasts do not play at all.


As you can see from the examples and URLs below, I was unable to play the same podcast using either Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts in a browser environment. Moreover, these problems continued regardless of whether I was attempting to play the podcast (of either type) in Google Chrome or Firefox. I've included the relevant playback error messages below in the examples section.

Separately, I also attempted to play the podcasts below on different podcast websites (Stitcher and Spotify Podcasts) -- but they didn't play at all on those either. Meanwhile, using my Plex web player (embedded within Chrome), the podcasts also did not play --- and I received the onscreen message "Error code:h4 (codec)."


Because the issue does not appear to be browser-dependent, I’m suspecting it’s OS and/or codec related.


Just to make sure, I completely uninstalled ubuntu-restricted-extras, and then reinstalled ubuntu-restricted-extras, and finally rebooted – but this didn’t fix the podcast playback problems either.


I checked various logs (syslog, dmesg, etc.), but nothing seemed amiss. I also checked the Google Chrome debug log at ~/.config/google-chrome, but didn’t see anything. Are there any other important logs to check?


One other important note: while I experienced problems with roughly 25 different podcasts tested, there WERE some Google and Apple podcasts that DID play with no problems within both my Chrome and Firefox browsers – which again suggests an OS or codec issue.


Please advise, thanks.
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------------ Examples ------------------


** Example 1 - Podcast: “Hacks on Tap” URL: https://bit.ly/3sadhrZ (Google Podcasts)


Chrome Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Something went wrong. This episode couldn’t be played. Please try again later.”


Firefox Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Something went wrong. This episode couldn’t be played. Please try again later.”


** Example 2 - Podcast: “Hacks on Tap” URL: https://apple.co/3s40aIW (Apple Podcasts)


Chrome Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Failed to load because no supported source was found.”


Firebox Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “The media resource indicated by the src attribute or assigned media provider object was not suitable.”


** Example 3 – Podcast “The Daily” URL: https://bit.ly/2LvSrCO (Google Podcasts)


Chrome Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Something went wrong. This episode couldn’t be played. Please try again later.”


Firefox Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Something went wrong. This episode couldn’t be played. Please try again later.”


** Example 4 – Podcast “The Daily” URL: https://apple.co/2Xlj3Je (Apple Podcasts)


Chrome Browser –> Onscreen play error message: “Something went wrong. This episode couldn’t be played. Please try again later.”


Firefox Browser –> Onscreen play error message: no error message displayed (the media just doesn’t play).